Thursday, August 15, 2013

Venus Enters Home Sweet Home Libra, Kicking Off the Cardinal Grand Crosses

Jay Kimball pottery
Photo: Jay Kimball

Venus enters its domicile Libra tomorrow morning at 10:37 a.m. CST (where it will be until September 11) and swiftly moves into the first wave of cardinal Grand Cross configurations August 23 - 27.

A new social framework is being put in place over the next nine months, and this first wave, initiated by Venus, sets the tone.

Venus will square Pluto in Capricorn (August 23), oppose Uranus in Aries (August 26), and square Jupiter in Cancer (August 27), forming an acute, stressed, and highly-strung configuration that may require action, initiative, and strong social leadership skills under pressurized circumstances.

The personal planets Mercury, the Sun, and Mars will follow Venus into Libra, activating further waves of cardinal Grand Cross configurations in September, October, and December 2013, culminating in The Big One - an exact Grand Cross formation involving Mars, Jupiter, Uranus, and Pluto at 13 degrees of the cardinal signs in April 2014.

We're being positioned and re-positioned - often dramatically, often unexpectedly - over the next nine months in an effort to reformulate relationships and social scenes to better fit the requirements of the astrological Aquarian era. Rules are changing. Ideals are shifting. Conventions are dissolving. Power dynamics are breaking down.

We can expect situations to escalate around the times that the Grand Crosses become exact, reaching crisis points that require decisiveness and leadership. These crises will often be related to the failure of the old set-ups, requiring that we find a new way...and quickly.

With Pluto involved in the Grand Crosses, potentially uncomfortable issues related to power are being drawn to the surface in relationships with an impetus to examine, make aware, and then transform. With Uranus involved, relationships and personal directions within relationship can change dramatically and unexpectedly as new insights and events arise. People will be rebelling from attempts to pigeonhole them in outdated relationship roles. With Jupiter in the mix, it is our wisdom, our truth, and our personal guiding philosophies (and those of our families) that provide shelter during the Grand Cross storms.

Jupiter in Cancer is now moving out of range of the Grand Water Trine with Saturn in Scorpio and Neptune in Pisces. The flowing, energetic glue that was holding things together is now gone, and there is little buffer from the tensions of the Grand Crosses.

Understand that people are going to be a little (or a lot) on edge.

As we experience the series of cardinal Grand Crosses, we will also experience retrogrades of both relationship-related planets. Love and partnership planet Venus goes retrograde in Capricorn (28 to 13 degrees) from December 20, 2013 to January 30, 2014. Sex, attraction, and desire planet Mars goes retrograde in Libra (27 to 9 degrees) from March 1 to May 19, 2014. These retrogrades within cardinal Grand Cross indicate a major 'turning over of the earth' in relationships of all kinds as we hurtle further into the astrological Aquarian era. It is movement in our relationships and social scenes that catalyzes the biggest shifts as far as the ways in which our lives are structured.

The personal planets in Libra will be hitting all the relational marks we were challenged on during Saturn's transit of Libra (October 2009 to October 2012). During that transit, we set new, concrete standards for relationships and partners. We were challenged by illusion, delusion, and wishful thinking in love and relationship. We were tempted by dead ends, siren songs, and karmic loops. Don't be surprised if themes (or people) you thought you had resolved are kicked up again by the transiting planets in Libra. As the personal planets move through Libra and activate the Grand Crosses, we must prove in active and immediate ways that we've earned our new social authority, our new social positioning.

The transit and retrograde of Mars through Libra, in particular, is an activating transit for the Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto in Libra generations, who are challenged to create "right human relations" during a quite inhumane period in human history.

The way people are treating each other on this planet, and the way they are being treated by the state, is fairly dismal in many cases, to say the least.

The eight-month transit and retrograde of Mars through the sign of its detriment, Libra, indicates we will have to fight (Mars) for the social relations (Libra) we wish to see on this planet. It is going to take active effort to maintain respect and a sense of peace, as well as our care for others despite exhaustion and overload.

Keeping our social balance and grace under these very intense and demanding cardinal Grand Cross energies will not be easy, but what is worthwhile is rarely easy.

'Social justice and change' are the names of the game with the personal planets in Libra activating the cardinal Grand Crosses, and these urges can be seen around the world.

Beauty-themed Venus in Libra within cardinal Grand Cross, in particular, indicates a time when we can flip the bird to destructive, media-driven beauty ideals once and for all.

There is a leveling of false beauty hierarchies underway as we move further into egalitarian Aquarius. We can assist this process by rejecting the soul-devoid, competition-based versions of beauty so often stuffed down our throats and by opting for something more humane, more fair, more realistic, more respectful, something that honours the beauty in all of us.

In fact, this is a time when we can pop the beauty illusions altogether, deconstructing all image-related mindfuckery and releasing ourselves from its grip. This is a time to ask: Why let someone else dictate to you what's beautiful? Why does it matter how we look at all? Why do certain people get special treatment simply because they fit societal beauty moulds? And how do we justify all the time, effort, money, resources, and worry it takes to achieve those societal beauty standards?

Whereas the Piscean era was obsessed with a sublime, surreal, soft-around-the-edges beauty, a glowing beauty that could be placed on a pedestal above all the rest, an idealized beauty for which  we were all then trained to strive, beauty in the astrological Aquarian era is more egalitarian, diverse, eclectic, unconventional, friendly, rough-around-the-edges, comrade-based.

The truth of the matter is: human beings are kind of weird. Being a human is kind of weird. We look sort of odd, when you get right down to it. The fact that humans are so enamoured of how they look - driven to a new, narcissistic extreme by digital cameras and social media - is actually kind of silly.

Alien life forms coming across a pack of humans would more than likely not be struck by their amazing and ethereal beauty. More than likely, they would think we were kind of odd. And we kind of are.

The things that make us different are the things that make us beautiful under Aquarius. No one has to fit him or herself into Piscean-era cookie cutter beauty ideals now. No one has to strive to look like anyone else. No one has to give any weight to these outdated ideals, at all.

We can drop the outdated Piscean-era beauty hierarchies and their corresponding misery - it's just going to take our conscious effort to do so.

* The lesser benefic and relationship planet Venus enters Libra on August 16, forming the first cardinal Grand Cross August 23 - 27. This is four 90-degree square aspects (frictional, clashing, dynamic) from bodies in all four cardinal signs (leadership, initiative, new direction).

Mercury in Libra forms the second cardinal Grand Cross September 13 - 19.

The Sun in Libra forms the third October 1 - 12.

Mars enters Libra December 7, 2013 until July 26, 2014 for an almost eight-month stay in the sign of the scales (its detriment), including a retrograde period from March 1 to May 19, 2014.

This transit activates the Uranus in Libra, Neptune in Libra, and Pluto in Libra generations in new ways for the astrological Aquarian era, as well as anyone with a strong contingent of personal planets in Libra.

Mars will form its first cardinal Grand Cross moving direct between December 23, 2013 and January 8, 2014.

The second cardinal Grand Cross will be an exact formation, blisteringly potent, forming April 21 - 24, 2014 with Mars Rx in Libra, Jupiter in Cancer, Uranus in Aries, and Pluto in Capricorn all on 13 degrees of the signs.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

"Stop GM Alfalfa" Bumper Stickers from WWA Activism

 Stop GM Alfalfa bumper stickers available at WWA Activism

Many of you will be aware of the ongoing "Stop GM Alfalfa" campaign I'm working on in an effort to raise public awareness and political opposition to genetically modified alfalfa.

This campaign actively supports a moratorium in Canada and the United States on the sale, planting, and growth of GM alfalfa. This campaign also supports independent, long-term animal feeding trials of GM alfalfa, unaffiliated with and unfunded by GMOs corporation like Monsanto, Bayer, BASF, Dow, DuPont, Syngenta, and others.

Monsanto's genetically modified RoundUp Ready alfalfa was unconditionally approved for commercial sale and growth by the pro-GMO Obama Administration in January 2011. GM alfalfa has been planted in the United States for the past three seasons. This decision is still highly contentious, and lawsuits attempting to stop GM alfalfa are ongoing in the U.S.

Wisconsin-based Forage Genetics is now planning to sell RoundUp Ready alfalfa for the first time in Canada amidst major protest. It is making its way through the last steps required for commercial sale in this country and could get the green light from the pro-GMO Harper government at any time.

Alfalfa is a feral perennial plant. This means it grows and spreads like a weed, and it grows back year-after-year without re-planting. In fact, if you don't want alfalfa in your field, it can be very difficult to eradicate.

Alfalfa is pollinated by insects like bees and by the wind. As bees and wind do not respect provincial or national borders, genetically modified material can be spread far beyond the area in which it is initially planted.

Monsanto and the rest of the GMO/chemical corporations are trying to make GM alfalfa the first ever feral perennial planted in Canada.

GM alfalfa, if released in Canada, will contaminate the natural crop. There is no doubt about that on the part of farmers or educated citizens. You can read a recent report written by the National Farmers Union and the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network on the impossibility of co-existence with this GM crop here: "The Canadian Seed Trade Association’s so-called “Coexistence Plan” is a gateway to GM alfalfa contamination"

Alfalfa is used primarily as livestock feed. It is used as a natural, nitrogen-fixing fertilizer in organic agriculture, and it is also used as the transition crop when farms move from conventional to organic.

If genetically modified alfalfa contaminates the natural crop, the current markets for Canadian alfalfa-based products (particularly European) will be lost. Livestock and human health may be harmed by this untested, experimental crop. And the entire foundation for organic agriculture could be destroyed.

The stakes are high. Now is the time to get vocal and active on this issue if you feel it in your heart and soul to do so.

I've launched a WWA Activism section of the Willow's Web Astrology blog. The primary campaign at this time, due to its immediate relevance, is the campaign to stop GM alfalfa.

If anyone would like to get involved with GM alfalfa activism in his or her local area, please contact me at willowsweb [at], and I can help you with some basics.

You can also voice your opposition to GM alfalfa in a very easy, simple, and effective way with a Stop GM Alfalfa bumper sticker.

There are three versions available: "Stop GM Alfalfa in Canada: Say 'no' to Franken-hay" (for Canadians), "Stop GM Alfalfa: Say 'no' to Franken-hay," and "Stop GM Alfalfa."

Stickers are $5 each or five stickers for $22. Shipping is $3.00 for orders in Canada and the U.S. Please contact me with international orders, as shipping rates may be higher.

Bumper sticker orders can be placed through the WWA Activism button at the top of the main page. Contact me if you would like to pay by a method other than PayPal.

The bumper stickers are printed at a local, independently-owned, small-town printing shop.

Please provide your full mailing address, and allow three weeks for shipping.

We can stop this. I wouldn't be pouring the coal to this issue if I believed otherwise.

Thanks for your help in this effort.

Genetically Modified Alfalfa Primer - Please Distribute

Stop GM Alfalfa bumper stickers available from WWA Activism


Franken-Hay: Stop GM Alfalfa

Monsanto is currently attempting to make its Roundup Ready alfalfa the first genetically modified (GM) perennial planted in Canada.

Wisconsin-based Forage Genetics International plans the wide-scale selling of Monsanto's genetically modified (GM) alfalfa seeds in Ontario and Quebec as early as 2013.

Monsanto's alfalfa strains have been genetically modified to withstand its glyphosate-based chemical herbicide Roundup. Genes not naturally found in alfalfa are implanted by scientists into the alfalfa seeds so the plants will withstand large doses of the herbicide.

GM alfalfa was very controversially approved in the United States in January 2011, and genetically modified alfalfa has been planted there for the past three seasons. It now accounts for 70% of the alfalfa crop in some states. Lawsuits to stop the commercial sale of GM alfalfa in the United States are ongoing.

A Call for an Immediate Moratorium on Genetically Modified Alfalfa in Canada

The introduction of genetically modified alfalfa has the ability to wipe out the entire foundation of organic and non-genetically modified agriculture. Alfalfa is a staple livestock feed. It is a crop often used during the three-year field transition from conventional to organic farming. Alfalfa is also essential in the organic crop rotation as a nitrogen-fixer and natural fertilizer of the soil.

As alfalfa is embedded in the entire organic agriculture system, contamination by GM alfalfa would be devastating.

As a staple livestock feed, alfalfa is made into bales of hay that are fed to animals. What we feed our animals, we end up eating ourselves if we eat meat or animal products. Contamination by GMOs would particularly affect organic/non-GM meat, dairy, eggs, and honey. Because GM alfalfa would have an effect on soil quality, however, vegetables, fruits, and grains could also be affected.

The first genetically modified organisms (GMOs) were released in the mid-1990s. GMOs have spread faster than anyone could have imagined, and due to the lack of labeling and segregation within the agricultural system, GM crops grown widely in Canada, especially soybeans, corn, and canola, have contaminated the non-GM versions. If you are eating a non-organic product that contains a derivative of those three crops (soybeans, corn, or canola), you are almost guaranteed to be eating some genetically modified material.

Already, there can be no guarantee that a food product labeled organic is completely free of genetically modified material. However, because the effort is made to keep organic crops separate from genetically modified crops, organic crops remain the best bet for non-GM food choices.

(Source: Manitoba organic inspector Priscilla Reimer)

Co-existence is Impossible

Currently, the plan touted by GM proponents is a "co-existence policy" where genetically modified alfalfa can be grown, harvested, and used alongside non-genetically modified alfalfa.

What organic and non-GM farmers know is that this co-existence is actually impossible, particularly with a feral, perennial crop like alfalfa that cross-pollinates widely, including via the wind and insects.

PhD work done between 2004 and 2007 in Manitoba on the spread of genetically modified canola found unintentional GMO contamination as well as cross-breeding between GM strains. Escape populations of canola were studied - plants growing outside fields where they had not been planted - and widespread contamination by genetically modified organisms was found among them.

The study found that the transportation and containment systems were most often the cause of the spread of the seeds (spilling from trucks, trains, and elevators), making the standard solution of "buffer fields" between GM and non-GM crops almost useless to stop contamination. Unless the growing, transportation, and containment of genetically modified seeds/crops is kept separate from non-genetically modified versions, contamination is inevitable.

In the case of alfalfa, even those measures could not contain the spread of genetically modified versions.

The same PhD work found something the GMO companies had not intended: some of the GM canola plants studied had cross-pollinated with each other in the wild, forming a hybrid of Monsanto's Roundup Ready variety and Bayer's LibertyLink variety.

Who owns the patent there?

(Source: Alexis Knispel Kanu, PhD)

Major GM and Glyphosate Safety Concerns Uncovered in 2012

An unprecedented animal feeding trial has found that lab rats fed genetically modified corn as well as glyphosate residue - the primary ingredient in Monsanto's herbicide Roundup - developed high incidences of tumours, multiple organ damage, and premature death.

The results of the GM feeding trial were published September 19, 2012 in the scientific journal "Food and Chemical Toxicology." The peer-reviewed study was conducted by a team of scientists led by biologist and endocrinologist Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen in France.

The study was attacked vociferously as flawed by other scientists and biotechnology groups. Despite the uproar, the Food and Chemical Toxicology journal, a major journal on toxicology, refused to retract the study.
In addition, the European Food Security Authority has published guidelines for GMO feeding studies that validated the methodology of the Seralini team.

The Seralini animal feeding trial studied the long-term effects of exposure to NK603 GM corn (Monsanto's Roundup Ready variety) and glyphosate - individually and combined - on the health of rats over two years.

The study found that even exposure to levels considered "safe" resulted in severe negative health effects in the animals.

Of the rats fed GM corn or glyphosate residue, 50% of males and 70% of females died prematurely. This was compared to 20%-30% in the control group. Female rats developed fatal mammary tumours and pituitary disorders. Males developed liver damage, kidney and skin tumours and had problems with their digestive systems.

The study found that ingestion of GM corn and glyphosate caused similar damage in the rats whether consumed separately or together. Even the lowest doses of GM corn and glyphosate, touted as "safe" by industry, were associated with severe health problems.

Previous studies have produced similar findings, but this was the first ever feeding trial done over the course of the entire lifespan of a laboratory rat - two years.

No genetically modified animal feeding trials have been done up to this point for longer than 90 days.

This means, genetically modified seeds/foods have been rushed onto the market in Canada and the United States without any longer-term studies on potential effects. The majority of the tumours and devastating health effects that developed with the rats were detected after 18 months, which means that prior GM testing done over 90 days would not have discovered them.

Glyphosate-based Roundup is currently the world's most popular and widely-used herbicide. Its global usage is set to double by 2017, according to Global Industry Analysts of San Jose, California.

The Battle As it Stands

The sale and growth of genetically modified alfalfa were initially stopped by a lawsuit in the United States in 2007, but that lawsuit was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010. A compromise that would have limited the growing of GM alfalfa, potentially protecting organic and non-GM farmers, was scrapped by the U.S. Department of Agriculture when it announced approval of unrestricted commercial cultivation on January 27, 2011.

This decision is highly opposed by organic farmers, who stand to lose the most money (and their entire livelihoods) from contamination by genetically modified alfalfa or even by the belief that their products are contaminated. This would mean the end of European markets, which ban GMOs, for Canadian alfalfa products.
But it is also opposed by all who wish to eat GMO-free food.

Genetically modified alfalfa was approved under Tom Vilsack as Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Vilsack is the ex-Governor of Iowa, a corn belt state. Genetically modified corn is big business in Iowa. As might be expected, Vilsack is a major supporter of Monsanto and their genetically modified seed varieties. Vilsack was even named Governor of the Year by the Biotechnology Industry Organization in 2001.

Genetically modified alfalfa has now been sold, planted, and grown in the United States for the past three growing seasons. Already, it makes up 70% of the alfalfa crop in some states.

In Canada, a motion on a moratorium on the planting and growing of genetically modified alfalfa was tabled in Canadian Parliament in March 2011 by Liberal members of the House of Commons Agriculture Committee.

That motion was left unaddressed as Stephen Harper dissolved Parliament ahead of the federal election in May 2011.

Now, the widespread selling of GM alfalfa seed has been proposed for Ontario and Quebec.

Wisconsin-based Forage Genetics International plans to sell Monsanto's genetically modified alfalfa seed in Ontario and Quebec as early as this year. This would be the first wide-scale commercial sale and growth of GM alfalfa in Canada and the first ever genetically modified perennial released in Canada.

Ontario and Quebec have been chosen as the introduction points for genetically modified alfalfa because farmers in Western Canada have already rejected GM alfalfa.

National Farmers Union protests are ongoing in Canada.

This is a crucial time for the future of food on this planet and for the future of food quality in Canada.

Two thousand thirteen is a make or break year for the natural, non-genetically modified, and organic agricultural industries in Canada and the United States and for anyone who wants to keep food natural and non-genetically modified.

A Moratorium on GM Alfalfa in Canada   

We, as concerned citizens, are calling on our elected officials to do the responsible thing with untested, unproven GM alfalfa. We are calling for an immediate moratorium on the sale, planting, and growth of genetically modified alfalfa in Canada.

We are also calling for additional two-year laboratory rat feeding trials to be conducted on genetically modified alfalfa and glyphosate by independent scientific bodies unaffiliated with and unfunded by GM corporations such as Monsanto, Bayer, Syngenta, BASF, Dow, and DuPont.

How Genetically Modified Alfalfa Affects You - Please Distribute

Stop GM Alfalfa bumper stickers available from WWA Activism
Alfalfa is a staple livestock feed. It is collected and made into bales of hay, which are fed to animals.

What goes into an animal's body goes into our bodies if we eat meat or other animal products like cheese, milk, yogurt, chocolate, eggs, or honey. If we are feeding animals toxic food, it will eventually make its way to us.


alfalfa ---> hay for animal feed ---> you eat meat or animal products ---> you are exposed to genetically modified material

Currently, Canada's alfalfa crop is natural (non-genetically modified). It is one of our precious national crops. It's how we feed our animals. Ninety-three percent of it is unsprayed - no chemical herbicides or pesticides.

Monsanto and the other GMO corporations would like to change that. They would like to make sprayed, genetically-modified alfalfa a much larger percentage of the Canadian alfalfa crop, and the initial foot in the door is planned for Ontario and Quebec.

Genes that do not naturally occur in alfalfa have been implanted in GM alfalfa seeds by scientists so the alfalfa plants will be able to withstand massive doses of chemical herbicide.

With a feral, perennial (grows year-after-year) crop like alfalfa that pollinates widely, including by wind and insects, cross-contamination by GM alfalfa is certain.

Already, GM crops have contaminated much of the non-GM food supply, particularly foods with corn, soybean, canola, or beet sugar ingredients. The organic label, which prohibits genetically modified material, cannot be guaranteed GM-free.

The company selling the seeds, Wisconsin-based Forage Genetics, is choosing Ontario and Quebec for the introduction of GM alfalfa because it has already been rejected outright by Western Canadian farmers.

There is no benefit to introducing genetically modified alfalfa in Canada, financially or health-wise.

The results of an unprecedented animal feeding trial found in 2012 that GM corn and glyphosate (the main ingredient in Monsanto's chemical herbicide Roundup) cause much higher incidences of tumours, organ damage, and premature death in lab rats.

This means, if genetically modified alfalfa is introduced and contaminates the natural crop, we will be feeding our animals something that could cause major health problems. When we eat those animals or products from those animals, this is passed on to us.

If you eat meat, dairy, eggs, honey, or other animal products, this affects you.

Even if you don't, it affects you.

Alfalfa is a natural fertilizer. It is used widely in organic agriculture. If GM alfalfa contaminates the alfalfa crop in Canada, that means genetically modified plant material is going to make its way into the soil as fertilizer...and stay there.

This will make it effectively impossible to call any food certified organic. If the soil isn't organic, the food grown in that soil will not be organic.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

New Moon in Leo Squaring the Nodes: Opening Into A New, Alchemically-Charged Creative Cycle

Photos: Willow

The New Moon at 14 degrees Leo on August 6 (4:51 p.m. CST) conjuncts asteroid Vesta and squares the Scorpio North Node and Taurus South Node.

This New Moon indicates a dynamic new creative cycle is opening with a mix of participants that starts to gel around fall equinox. The house where 14 degrees Leo falls in your birth chart is the area where this new creative cycle is getting underway.

The influence of "hearth and home" asteroid Vesta, exactly conjunct the New Moon at 14 degrees Leo, indicates that we're invested in our own creative output and in the power of our personalities. We've kept our creative flames stoked through trial and tribulation. We've put time, effort, and energy into expressing the love, style, and passion in our hearts - even when it was hard, even when it was devalued, even when it seemed pointless. An investment has been made in pure human creativity, joy, and play. We've banked on the power of our personal artistry and creativity. Now we start to see what that investment is going to reap.

With a transiting Scorpio North Node, we are challenged to address energy shortfalls now by coming together with others in creative/working partnership. We are seeking true win-win partnerships where we accomplish more together than we could alone.

But with the Sun and Moon coming together in Leo, the sign of the diva, the celebrity, the star, there is friction possible within these partnerships that must be addressed.

Big personalities, big egos, and big creative power are coming together, with a particular gel point this fall under the Saturn-North Node-Venus conjunction at 8 degrees Scorpio.

This requires a careful understanding and distribution of power. It also requires the careful, proactive honing of our personalities and egos. We have to drop a whole lot in order to achieve the things we need to achieve, in order to fit through the slim doorway to Aquarius. Coming out of this Leo New Moon, square the Scorpio North Node, we're determining the essentials of our personalities from the non-essentials, the benefits of a strong ego versus the pitfalls of an oversized one.

We're purging any potentially detrimental ego bloat coming out of this Leo New Moon with an eye toward long-term gains. The more honest we can be with ourselves, the better, though this will not necessarily be easy. We can expect some ego burns and bruising around this New Moon as we are stripped down, charged up, and positioned for the long term.

We may not get the attention we were expecting, but the attention we do get is meaningful.